Purple Pride: Bending Sydney Exhibition

As part of Wear It Purple Day, 2019 the Library is proud to present Bending Sydney: Camp Ink 1970-77, a new exhibition featuring material from Rare Books & Special Collections. The exhibition runs from 30 August – 30 September in Fisher Library and on our ThinkSpace video wall.

We will be decorating service points and rolling out the purple carpet! Wear It Purple strives to foster supportive, safe, empowering and inclusive environment for young members of the LGBTQIA+ community.

Photograph from a CAMP Inc demonstration, 6 October 1971. Photograph by Phillip Potter.

The exhibition Bending Sydney features material from CAMP Ink, which was the official publication of Sydney’s first lesbian and gay political organisation Campaign Against Moral Persecution. CAMP was co-founded in 1970 by John Ware and Christabel Poll to create a “safe space” for homosexual women and men to come together to discuss the issues of discrimination they were facing in Australia at the time.

Covers of CAMP INK publications, on display in the ‘Bending Sydney’ Exhibition. Left Vol 2, No. 2/3, December 1971, January 1972. Right: Vol 4, No. 1, 1974

A CAMP Inc branch was established on the campus of The University of Sydney, and Rare Books & Special Collections now holds the collection of the group’s historical publication which was published from 1970 – 1977. This exhibition highlights these publications, which was a vital outlet for CAMP Inc.

Covers of CAMP INK publications, on display in the ‘Bending Sydney’ Exhibition.
Left: No. 38, 1976. Right: Vol. 5, No. 2, 1976

The exhibition is curated by Library staff member Suzy Faiz. Suzy graduated with a Master of Fine Arts from Sydney College of the Arts in 2017. Her work explores painting’s critical relevance within contemporary art. It ostensibly concentrates on painting and collage and primarily exhibits abstract tendencies coupled with the occasional inclusion of figurative elements. Suzy’s work has been exhibited locally and internationally and is included in private collections in Australia and Austria.


“As a young queer person, this exhibition has been particularly close to my heart. I have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to learn about the history of Australia’s LGBTQIA+ activism, without which we would not have the freedoms to express ourselves today.”

Suzy Faiz

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Explore the Bending Sydney Exhibition:

Fisher Library: Friday 30th August – Monday 30th September

ThinkSpace: Friday 30th August – Friday 13th September

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Free Lunchtime Talk on Late Medieval Spanish Manuscripts

Join us for an upcoming lunchtime talk by Dr David Andrés Fernández: Sacred space, music and liturgy in Late Medieval Spanish Manuscripts.

fol. 19 verso from Add.Ms. 420. “Poissy Processional.” 10 Mar. 1501: n. pag. Print. (One of the books discussed in the talk: a written and illuminated book of plainchant music that contains the liturgical processions used by nuns at the Dominican convent of Saint-Louis de Poissy at the beginning of the sixteenth century, between 1500 and 1510.)

Dr David Andrés Fernández is a visiting scholar from Complutense University of Madrid, Musicology and he will be discussing his latest research findings concerning some of the liturgical manuscripts recently purchased by Rare Books and Special Collections.

These manuscripts include books for both Cathedral and Monastic use, dating back to the thirteenth century. Many of the books focus on the period from Christmas to Epiphany.

Although provenance for a number of these manuscripts cannot yet be established with any certainty, repertorial and decorative evidence in some of the books points to links with the liturgical agenda of Salamanca Cathedral. Two monastic antiphonals and one gradual are identified with religious communities (Servites, Jeronymites, Augustinians) and one of these appears to have been associated with a particular house of nuns (Our Lady of the Snows).

When
Tuesday 20th August, 1pm – 2pm

Where
Fisher Library
Seminar Room, Level 2

RSVP

Numbers are limited so please register here.

Rare Bites: Free lunchtime talks exploring our Rare Books treasures

Rare Bites is a series of 30 minute lunchtime talks held monthly during semester. Each talk features an expert speaker spotlighting specific Rare Books and Special Collections resources that are part of their field of study.

The series gives the opportunity for staff & students to learn about some of the treasures and lesser-known gems within Rare Books & Special Collections.

Semester two talks include:

Exploring Amazing Fantasy #15: The genesis of Spider-Man

When unsuspecting teenager Peter Parker got bitten by a radioactive spider and later realised with great power there must also come great responsibility , America’s ‘most different new teenage idol’ and superhero Spider-Man was born.

Join University of Sydney alumnus Matthew Skinner as he discusses the origin of Marvel Comics’ flagship character within the pages of anthology book Amazing Fantasy #15 by co-creators Stan Lee and Steve Ditko (1962) in our 4th Rare Bites Talk of the year.

His presentation will explore Lee and Ditko’s tightly plotted, scripted and drawn 11-page collaboration, why their publisher was initially hesitant to print the story, the readership’s reaction to their teenage protagonist, and the pair’s later feud over who exactly created the hero.

Matthew has over ten years of experience delivering marketing, media and communications insight across the sports and higher education sectors.

His exposure to, and passion of, comic books as a medium spans thrice that.

Matthew completed his Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in 2006, presenting his thesis on The Literary History of Comic Books in America Between 1938-1975, and more recently his Master of Media Practice in 2010.

Cost: Free

When: 1:00pm – 1:30pm, Wednesday 21st August

Where: Fisher Seminar Room (218), level 2

Register online(places limited)

Uncover the Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections Treasures in our series of lunchtime talks

Rare Bites is a series of 30 minute lunchtime talks held monthly during semester. Each talk features an expert speaker spotlighting specific Rare Books and Special Collections resources that are part of their field of study.

The series gives the opportunity for staff & students to learn about some of the treasures and lesser-known gems within Rare Books & Special Collections.

Talk One:
More than just its prayers: A late medieval Dutch Prayer Book in Fisher Library

Our first talk More than just its prayers: A late medieval Dutch Prayer Book in Fisher Library is by Dan Anlezark- McCaughey Professor of Early English Literature and Language; Director, Medieval and Early Modern Centre; Associate Dean Research (Education) Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Department of English who will be talking about the book from our collection: Add. Ms. 342

[A prayer book in Latin and Dutch]. 1501. Netherlands.

Add. Ms. 342 is an unstudied late medieval prayer book in Middle Dutch and Latin. This late fifteenth-century manuscript, written on paper, is only minimally decorated, and is the kind of book that was the output of mass production in the Low Countries in the later Middle Ages. The book appears to have remained in private ownership from the time it was made until relatively recently, as is indicated by the inscription of a number of names (including those of children) up to the early nineteenth century.

This short talk will provide a brief overview of the book in its evolving historical contexts, from the time of its manufacture, until it was acquired by the Fisher Library.

Cost: Free

When: 1:00pm – 1:30pm, Wednesday 20 March 2019

Where: Fisher Seminar Room (218), level 2

Register online (places limited)

Talk Two: Illustrations to micrographs: Visualising patterns in Botany

Learning about the world around us involves observing and recognising the patterns. In science, learning is about sharing and challenging “the what” and “the how” of our observations through discussion within the classroom and with the scientific community at large.

Botanische Wandtafeln (1874-1911), RB Elephant Folio 580 2
Online at https://digital.library.sydney.edu.au/nodes/view/6401

Join Associate Professor Rosanne Quinnell from Life and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science discussing Botanische Wandatafeln – a series of technical scientific illustrations (1874-1911) distributed globally as teaching tools to support student learning in botany.

Reliance on these illustrations of resources fell out favour for a number of reasons including the advent of digital imaging which coincided with the explosion in the number of online resources (including the University’s eBOT collection). Re-utilising Leopold Kny’s series in a digital platform allows for an enriched dialogue about how science, in general, and botany, is communicated.

Associate Professor Rosanne Quinnell is from Life and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science. Dr Quinnell’s research and teaching focus on plant sciences and the use of technology-enhanced solutions to improve student learning e.g. Botany, Zoology and Human Biology virtual microscopy slide collections, eBOT botanical image repository, electron laboratory notebooks, CampusFlora apps.

Cost: Free

When: 1:00pm – 1:30pm, Wednesday 17th April

Where: Fisher Seminar Room (218), level 2

Register online (places limited)

Talk Three: Not an Ordinary Dog: Flush by Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf wrote Flush, a fictional biography of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s cocker spaniel, after having been captivated by the dog’s presence in the love letters of Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning. Flush was “not an ordinary dog”, by Woolf’s description, and he is certainly more extraordinary for his persistence in literary imagination.


Image: Woolf, Virginia, 1882-1941., Flush : a biography, London : L. and V. Woolf at the Hogarth Press, 1933., 823.91 W913 J10 5

Join Dr Vanessa Berry, Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Sydney discussing Flush by Virginia Woolf (1933) in our third Rare Bites Talk of the year.

Although Flush was a bestseller for the Hogarth Press at the time of its publication, it has long been considered one of Woolf’s minor works. However, with the rise of animal studies in the humanities there has been an upsurge of interest in Flush.

This presentation will introduce Flush and the genre of the canine memoir and consider the literary potential of the human-canine relationship.

Dr Vanessa Berry is a Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Sydney, and a writer known for her work with history, memory and archives. Her most recent book Mirror Sydney, which examines the city’s marginal and undercurrents, was published in 2017 and won the Mascara Avant Garde literary award.

Cost: Free

When: 1:00pm – 1:30pm, Wednesday 22nd May

Where: Fisher Seminar Room (218), level 2

Register online (places limited)

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Stay tuned for details of more upcoming Rare Bites talks throughout the year.

The Golden Age of Dutch Printing

In the seventeenth century, a period known as the Dutch golden age, Dutch book production led the world.

Atlas minor…noveau revue, et augmente / Gerardus Mercator (1512-94). Amsterdami, excusam in aedilus Judoci Hondii [1613]. RB 6113.1

Dutch dominance of European printing at this time can be attributed to two main factors: the Dutch Republic’s position as a centre of international trade, and its relative freedom of the press. This exhibition showcases some examples of fine Dutch printing held in Rare Books & Special Collections.

When: 18th March – 23rd September 2019

Where: Fisher Library, Level 1

Rare Renaissance Drawing Discovered in Library’s Rare Books & Special Collections



Giorgione’s sketch of the Madonna and Child and the inscription.
Credit: Sarah Lorien.

For the first time in centuries, in a copy of Dante Alighieri’s Commedia (Venice, 1497) owned by the University of Sydney Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections, Academic Liaison Librarian Kim Wilson discovered an inscription and sketch by Renaissance Artist Giorgione dating back to over 500 years ago in the back pages of the book.

The inscription confirms Giorgione’s birth year and exact date of death which has previously been unknown, and the sketch is thought to represent a first thought for Giorgione’s paintings Benson Holy Family and Virgin and Child.

An Italian Renaissance painter, Giorgione’s life was shrouded in mystery for centuries, with the exact date of his birth and death remaining unknown until now.

In the back pages of the 1497 copy of Dante’s Divine Comedy, is the red chalk drawing of Madonna and Child, a technique developed by Leonardo da Vinci fifty years earlier. The drawing is one of only two ever to be attributed to Giorgione.

An article in The Burlington Magazine March 2019, No. 1392 – Vol 161, written by Kim Wilson and  Professor Jaynie Anderson (Melbourne University), Professor Nerida Newbigin (University of Sydney) and Julie Sommerfeldt (manager of Rare Books and Special Collections) argues that Giorgione is the artist behind the drawing and potentially the owner of the rare copy of Dante’s famous text.

Little is known of the 36-year-old’s life, though historians have speculated the painter was illiterate.


Kim Wilson, Academic Liaison Librarian and Julie Sommerfeldt, Manager Rare Books and Special Collections. Credit: Sarah Lorien.

“It was a serendipitous finding that will allow art historians to rewrite Giorgione’s place in history, as one of Bellini’s apprentices” said Ms Wilson.

After discovering the drawing, Ms Wilson sought the expertise of Emeritus Professor Nerida Newbigin from the University’s Department of Italian Studies, to translate the inscription written in Venetian at the top of the page on which the drawing appears. [PIC]

Professor Newbigin confirmed the inscription read:

“On the day of 17 September, Giorgione of Castelfranco, a very excellent artist died of the plague in Venice at the age of 36 and he rests in peace.”

Professor Jaynie Anderson from the University of Melbourne, said, “Not only does this give the precise date of Giorgione’s death, but also indicates a birth date, providing bookends to his life. This is particularly significant given he was said to have had an ‘impossible biography’ for centuries.”

While the exact date the University of Sydney Library obtained the book is unknown, records indicate the book was a donation to the library sometime between 1914 and 1959.

The drawing may represent a first thought for The Holy Family, which resides in the National Gallery of Art in Washington or Adoration of Kings, which is in The National Gallery in London.

Giorgione (Venetian, 1477/1478 – 1510), The Holy Family, probably c. 1500, oil on panel transferred to hardboard

A copy of the book can be viewed online through the Library’s Digital Collection platform here.